Winter is coming – is your car ready for the snow and ice? Now is a good time to get your winter driving checklist started, and there may be no more important accessory when it comes to driving in snowy and icy conditions than a set of quality winter tires. After all, that’s what they’re specifically designed for, maintaining traction and grip in dire conditions and low temperatures. Not sure what type of winter tire to outfit your vehicle with this winter? No worries – we’ve got you covered. Here’s a look at the top 10 tires that we recommend for the upcoming winter driving season:
Bridgestone’s Blizzak line of tires are also known as “winter biters” – and the WS-50 is no exception. Specifically, Bridgestone’s WS-50 tires are designed to literally bite into snow and ice to allow for maximum traction. They feature individually siped tread blocks that are specifically designed to increase snow and ice traction, and their tubes feature a multi-cell compound to enhance the absorption of water film, all of which leads to better traction on the road.
Another tire from Bridgestone’s Blizzak winter tire line, the WS-60 is specifically designed to be outfitted on the likes of coupes, sedans, mini vans and crossover vehicles. WS-60 tires offer dual-compound tread, which is further enhanced with the manufacturer’s silica-enhanced Tube multi-cell compound. This multi-cell compound is layered on top of a standard winter compound. This unique tread, along with the WS-60’s other features all combine to offer drivers greater resistance to hydroplaning, better driving control and faster braking.
The Arctic Alpin was specifically designed to withstand even the most extreme Canadian winters. Some highlights include torque-locking zig zag sipes to grip snow and interlock when torque is applied, thereby enabling better control on snowy and icy surfaces. It also features circumferential grooves, which are designed to continuously trap and eject snow and slush, another feature which helps provide better traction.
One unique feature of the Arctic Claw Winter TXI tire is that it’s studdable, meaning that studs have the ability to be embedded into the tire’s tread to further enhance traction and stability during winter driving conditions. But unlike other studdable winter tires, the Winter TXI ensures a smooth, comfortable and fairly quiet driving experience when the studs are in. In addition to the option of adding studs to the tire, the Winter TXI offers a tread design to evacuate water, and snow grooves to improve grip on snowy surfaces.
Highly regarded as one of the best studded snow tires, the Nokian Hakkapelitta 7 offers maximum ice grip. This is thanks to its built-in metal studs, which are able to penetrate ice to offer optimum traction and stability. The studs also work well in snowy driving conditions. Because of their built-in studs, however, Nokian Hakkapelitta 7 tires are best utilized only in areas where winter weather hits hardest, as the tires don’t perform well on bare pavement and can be noisy.
The General Altimax Arctic is a great winter tire option for those who are either looking for a little bit more affordability in a snow tire or for those who only have to deal with extreme winter weather for a month or two out of the year. Available in stud-less and studded versions, it doesn’t grip or provide the traction that other winter tire models do, but it still offers a performance that exceeds that of an all-season tire.
If you drive a sports car, you’re probably used to winterizing and storing it once temperatures start to drop. But if you’re the type who drives a sports car year-round, even in snowy conditions, then the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 may be the right tire for you. Designed also for sedans or coupes, the Pilot Alpin PA3 features an oil-enriched Helio compound for better traction, handling and braking in wet and snowy environments. It features wide sipes on the inboard side of the tread for better performance in the snow and narrow sipes on the outboard side for better performance when it is dry.
If you live in an area of the country where meteorologists predict inches – and not feet – of snow at a time, then the Nokian WR G2 might be the right tire for you. These are technically considered “all-weather” tires (not to be confused with “all-season”) due to their sidewall, which resembles that of a winter tire. But unlike conventional winter tires, which feature a softer rubber that wears easily on bare pavement, Nokian WR G2 tires can be left on year-round for good performance no matter the season.
Whenever you’re dealing with the terms “extreme,” “winter” and “contact” together when it comes to tires, it can’t be a bad thing for cold weather driving. And while these tires can be outfitted to any particular vehicle, they specifically shine on that of light trucks or SUVs. Elevated bases of lateral grooves, an asymmetric tread pattern, and independent tread blocks with high density sipes and lots of gripping edges all help Continental ExtremeWinterContact tires make a case for your vehicle.
iceGuard tires are another example of a more affordable winter tire that will be more than adequate in areas with more manageable winter seasons. Ideal for a wide variety of vehicle classes, including coupes, sedans, and compact cars, iceGuard tires feature a tread compound consisting of silica, shelled micro-bubbles, and multi-layer carbon. These tires also feature grooves to do away with slush and snow, and they also have biting edges to keep your car grounded when things get real rocky out there.